How to Tie a Black Ant Fly

The black ant is a popular modern lure in the fly fishing world, and is a vital addition to any anglers fly box. The black ant does not usually look much like its namesake, and is often called a black spider, due to the fact that it has long wobbly “legs”. The black ant also has white legs, and although this defies the name, it seems to catch more fish.

Although the black ant is best known for its versatility, it can be a devastating fish catcher if used on one of those few nights a year the air seems to be filled with winged female ants on there way to start new colonies and kill their husbands. Unfortunately, many of the little queens-to-be end up in lakes and rivers. This drives fish into a frenzy, and they will take in any fly vaguely resembling an ant without looking twice.

The black ant differs from most flies in materials used in that it are made completely of synthetic materials like foam and rubber rather than the classic feathers and fur. The materials you will need a medium shank length hook of almost any size that is proportionate to your final lure, a small block of closed-cell (non absorbent) foam, three 2 inch long strands of 1 millimeter thick white rubber cord, and a spool of black string. All of these materials should be readily available at any fly fishing shop.

First, place the hook in your fly vice, if you have one, and tie the end of the string to the shank, wrapping it a few times for a secure hold. At this point you’ll want to lay the three strips of rubber across the middle of the shank, crossed over one another like to make a star shape. Once you have them in position you should tie them down. After positioning and attaching the legs, cut a roughly 1 inch by 2/5ths by 2/5ths inch block from the foam and round the ends with a hobby knife. Once you have it shaped, lay it on top of the hook and tie the tip (head) to the hook, just behind the eyelet. Wrap this knot repeatedly and glue it to form a strong head, a must for any fly. Once this has been done you should tie the foam body tightly to the hook at the same point as the white rubber legs, pinching its midsection to create the illusion of body segments. This will also cause the abdomen to angle up slightly, which is characteristic of a struggling ant, adding to the illusion. For some reason, most black ant flies have only two body sections. Perhaps the wrapped head is considered to be the third.

Congratulations! You have just created (or at least learned how to create) a black ant fly! Please remember to use it, as it is little fun to stay at home tying flies when there are fish to be caught!